Hello, my brothers and sisters of the drumming world! I go by the name of Rob Allen, and I am one third of We Are Augustines, a band made up of three world citizens based in Brooklyn, New York.
This is my first time writing for Modern Drummer. What a wonderful honor indeed! Since that is the case, I figured I would give you some basic background information so you can get a sense of who I am. I was born in Ilford, England, and started drumming at age six. I studied music at the London Guildhall, University of Leeds, and the Kristiansand Conservatory in Norway. I moved to the States in the early 2000s to continue my education in the music industry. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play in some of the best venues and studios the world has to offer. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s have a chitchat about what I’ve been up to in the last fifteen months.
Let me tell you, folks, it’s been one hell of a ride so far! Since our formation in 2011, we’ve had tours with the Boxer Rebellion, Maccabees, and Band of Skulls, and we’ve shared stages with the likes of Bon Iver, Radiohead, and others at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Southside/Hurricane, and T in the Park.
The thing about being a professional musician is that it really is a twenty-four-hour job, and you never stop learning. A big learning curve for me this year was the live TV performances on The Late Show With David Letterman and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. I picked up a lot of tips just on the production side alone and on what it means to be professional. The crews at both shows were just incredible; I was so impressed by them. If I have any advice to give to anyone, it’s this: Be nice. Be courteous. Be professional. And most of all, have fun doing it. You don’t need to be rude to get things done or to get your point across. You’re more likely to get invited back to places if you are well mannered and respectful. I have always lived my life that way, and it makes me feel good to be that way. Try it, folks—it’s addictive!
We all know how tough this industry can be, but one thing that I truly believe is to never give up. If I’m to be honest, I was in such a dark place, musically and professionally, that I even considered giving up music for good, and to anyone who knows me, that’s crazy talk! But here I am, currently on a festival run and gearing up for a tour with the Counting Crows. Always keep going, my friends—you never know what’s around the corner.
Now, I love a good drum geek-out. I’m sure lots of you reading this do, too, so this bit is for you. My first kit was an ’80s Premier Resonator, which I still used when We Are Augustines started touring. It was great to be able to take the kit I learned how to play drums on out to these theaters. It wasn’t just a bedroom kit anymore! It took me a while to find a setup that I felt really comfortable with and could get the tones I wanted out of it. Eventually I discovered Pearl Reference Series drums, which really hit home with everything that I wanted. This, paired with my Zildjian cymbal setup, really gave me the comfort, dynamics, and versatility behind the kit I’d been searching for.
We take great pride in hanging out after shows and meeting people. If you would like to come to one of our shows and hang out, we will be touring through America and Europe until the end of the year. You can also check us out at weareaugustines.com, at twitter.com, or at facebook.com. My personal Twitter handle is @drumgodrob, so drop a line and say hello. Toodaloo, folks, and I’ll see you guys soon.
Photo by Bob Sanderson.